Whether you’re a journalist or a digital marketer, you’ve likely been in the situation where you need to email somebody whose email is hard to find.
Luckily, journalists and digital marketers are some smart people, so they have all sorts of ways to find who they’re trying to reach.
Below, you’ll find some tried and true methods that’ll have you composing your email or launching an entire campaign in no time!
1. LinkedIn & Email Hunter
LinkedIn is a great place to find anyone’s email address.
According to their own count, LinkedIn currently has more than 722 million accounts.
And while one easy way to get someone’s email address is to just send an invitation to connect, that isn’t always an option.
So, take the following two-step approach.
Using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search, look up the target’s company.
You’ll get a list of relevant people who work there.
You may have to include other search terms depending on the company’s size.
If you’re looking for an editor, for example, include the title “editor.”
Once you have some top-notch results, it’s time for step two.
Sign up for and download the Chrome extension for Hunter.
You get 150 free lookups per month and it works with LinkedIn
Once you’ve selected the relevant profile, a slick red button will appear next to their profile picture.
Just click the button to get their email!
Hunter has a high success rate and works on most corporate emails.
That’s why it currently enjoys five out of five stars in the Chrome store based on over 12,000 reviews!
2. Google Search Operators
Google search operators are one of Google’s most useful features.
All you need is the target domain, the name of the person you’re looking for, and specific keywords.
If the target’s email is anywhere on the site, whether in fine print or in a 5-year-old blog post, you’ll find it, along with every page the email is mentioned on.
Here’s two examples:
- site:companywebsite.com + “name” + contact
- site:companywebsite.com + “name” + email
It’s that simple!
3. Mail Tester
Got an email but you’re not sure if it’s working?
Run it through Mail Tester.
Mail Tester is effective, but its efficacy depends on how the website’s mail servers are programmed.
Sometimes, mail servers block email verification, which Mail Tester will let you know using yellow highlighting.
Red highlighting means the email doesn’t exist.
Most often, though, you’ll get the green highlight, and that means go!
4. Take a Guess
There are only so many formats that a corporate email can have, so if you know them all you can just run them through MailTester and try the ones that work.
However, manually writing out all the possible combinations would be a real slog, so use Metric Sparrow’s Email Permutator+.
All you do is plug in the relevant info and Email Permutater+ gives you all the possible addresses.
5. Chrome Extensions
There are a lot of Chrome Extensions out there that can help you find and verify email addresses.
Some of them are parts of larger suites that automate and track email campaigns.
Others, meanwhile, are used by email campaign suites as the means by which they find and verify addresses.
The latter is the relationship between Hunter and Postaga.
Postaga helps you find contact information using Hunter.
Then Postaga helps you use that contact information to craft, execute, and track email campaigns around goals like having your website added to a resource page or offering your expertise to a podcast.
Mileage varies with these extensions.
For example, Ahrefs conducted a study with a small sample size of 100 emails.
Name2Email came in 1st out of 8 contenders with 91% accuracy while Hunter came in 3rd place with 78% accuracy.
At the same time, Hunter enjoys 5 out of 5 stars based on 12,177 reviews with 400,000+ users in the Chrome web store, while Name2Email has 4 out of 5 stars based on 184 reviews with 40,000+ users.
As you can see, there’s more than accuracy and good reviews to consider when deciding which extensions to use.
Luckily, the best-rated extensions all have free trials, so you can test them out to see which works best for you.
You can also use more than one extension at a time.
These are listed alphabetically.
- 4.9 out of 5 stars based on 160 reviews with 10,000+ users.
- Free option with limitations is available.
- Plans start at $49 per month.
AeroLeads finds emails from LinkedIn and Xing with the option of automating your search.
You get upwards of 15 pieces of information about the target of your search.
- 4.1 out of 5 stars based on 1,352 reviews with 100,000+ users.
- Free access for 100 searches per month.
- Paid plans depend on how you use Clearbit.
Clearbit can be used with Gmail or with your web browser.
Simply put in the name of the company and the first name or job title of your target, and Clearbit will provide an email.
Clearbit offers both individual and bulk searches, but you’ll have to verify the emails using a service like MailTester.
- 4 out of 5 stars based on 508 reviews with 100,000+ users.
- Free: 100 credits. Paid plans are not advertised and require emailing ContactOut directly.
Using ContactOut you can find phone numbers and triple verified personal email addresses with 97% accuracy.
ContactOut advertises that it’s used by 30% of Fortune 500 companies.
- 4 out of 5 stars based on 213 reviews with 30,000+ users.
- Free: 10 credits. Insider Free plan.
Its email tool searches the web for appearances of someone’s name and then pings potential email addresses to narrow down the list to the most likely one.
- 4 out of 5 stars based on 369 reviews with 30,000+ users.
- Discover.ly is free.
Discover.ly builds a profile using information from Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The profile is displayed in a small sidebar in your email inbox.
For email discovery, the extension works by having you enter potential email addresses that it then whittles down to the most likely option.
- 4.1 out of 5 stars based on 62 reviews with 20,000+ users.
- Free: 15 credits per month.
- Paid plans start at $59 per month
Hiretual finds email addresses, and other information like experience, seniority level, and compensation range by scouring LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
It also has an AI sourcing assistant that can take care of the souring for you while you do something else.
You’ll need to use a tool, MailTester, to verify.
- 5 out of 5 stars based on 12,177 reviews with 400,000+ users.
- 50 free searches and verifications per month for one user.
- Paid plans start at $49 per month for 500 searches and verification for an unlimited number of users.
Hunter has 100+ million verified email addresses in an index that you can browse using search filters and accuracy scoring.
- 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 1,887 reviews with 200,000+ active users.
- 5 free search credits per month.
- Paid plans start at $79 per month with 100 search credits split between 3 users.
Lusha helps you find emails and phone numbers by searching through publicly available information, completing email addresses based on standard corporate email patterns, and from business partners who volunteer their information.
A separate tool like MailTester would still be useful to verify the emails Lusha finds.
- 4 out of 5 stars based on 184 reviews with 40,000+ users.
- Free unlimited searches.
Name2Email comes courtesy of Reply, a platform that provides automated email search, LinkedIn outreach, personal emails, and calls.
The extension offers individual searches.
- 4.1 out of 5 stars based on 60 reviews with 6,000+ users.
- No free trial available, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you cancel within 30 days you get a free trial.
Prospect.iO finds emails and builds profiles, verifies emails, and allows for email campaigns as well.
- 4 out of 5 stars based on 289 stars with 300,000+ users.
- The free plan offers 3 searches per month.
- The paid version starts at $49 per month.
Rocketreach gets personal and work emails, phone numbers, and full profile information from a database of 250 million professionals from 6 million companies.
A single search gives you data from over 50 sites.
- 4.2 out of 5 stars based on 494 reviews with 100,000+ users.
- The free version lets 1 user search for 150 emails per month.
- Plans start at $49 for 2 users with 1,000 emails per month.
Skrapp finds and verifies emails on LinkedIn.
You can search for the employee’s name and the name of their company.
You can also find emails in bulk.
- Five out of five stars based on 3,809 reviews with 100,000+ users.
- 50 free searches per month.
- Plans start at $29 for 1,000 emails.
Snov.io finds and verifies emails, helps you automate cold emailing, and can track when your emails have been opened and links have been clicked.
- 4 out of 5 stars based on four reviews with 1,000+ users.
- 5 free search credits per month.
- 200 search credits for $99 for one user.
UpLead goes through 56 million contacts that lets you filter down to get your leads using 50 different metrics.
You can then download and verify your finds.
UpLead claims a 95% accuracy guarantee.
The U.K.-based CEOEmails.com collects and publishes the work emails, Twitter handles, office phone numbers, and postal addresses of CEOs, company directors, and senior staff at organizations worldwide.
7. All My Tweets
You’d be surprised how often people tweet out their own email addresses.
That’s where All My Tweets comes into play.
The service displays an account’s most recent 3,200 tweets on a single page.
All you have to do is hit CTRL + F and search for “email” or “@exmaplesite.com.”
You can also search for phone number by searching for:
- “call me.”
- “text me.”
- and other terms one would use when giving out a phone number.
8. Twitter Advanced Search
Go to Twitter’s Advanced Search, and search for (at) (dot) and put in your target’s Twitter handle in the People section.
This way you’ll find Tweets that your target Tweeted out that contain an email address (although, not necessarily theirs).
9. Tweet at Them
As you saw above, plenty of people who are otherwise hard to reach Tweet out their contact info.
You could be on the receiving end of that tweet just by asking!
If you’re having any doubts, just remember that just asking for a “Retweet” increases retweets by 23X!
Asking for an email might seem intimidating, but if you have a good reason for them to give it to you then just go for it!
10. Ask Their Company Rep
Almost every company has a general email address akin to email@example.com.
You can email and ask to be connected to the person you’re trying to reach.
11. Check Their WhoIs Information
When you register a domain name, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) make you put your personal contact info into the WHOIS database.
That way anyone who uses the WHOIS search tool can find a way to reach you.
Many people pay to make their contact information private, which means that only proxy contact information is provided.
You can always try sending an email to the proxy address.
12. Subscribe to Their Mailing List
If your target has a newsletter on their blog then subscribing to it may give you access to their contact info since most newsletters are sent from their personal email address.
You can email directly, or, better yet, reply to one of the newsletter emails with a relevant comment or question to start a dialogue.
13. Pick up the Phone
If you’re having a hard time finding the email you’re looking for, you can always just call and ask.
If you have a direct phone number for the person you’re looking for or their company, then great.
Just make sure you start things right by talking about something of value.
If you have a super amazing piece of content that’s relevant to their audience, or an outstanding product that will get them excited, then pick up the phone.
However, don’t call if you don’t have a good reason to do so.
Put yourself in their shoes. Would you be interested in what you have to offer?
Hopefully, you did enough research before carrying out any outreach in the first place to know whether a phone call is appropriate.
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All screenshots taken by author, November 2020